Resurrection Reflections by Larry Geraldson

Resurrection day is often preceded with reflections on the cross. While our hearts rejoice in the resurrection and the understanding, “…that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.”

The enamoring Cross seems to repeatedly draw our reflections back to the substitutionary death of Christ. This penal substitutionary death established our justification by faith and set forth the work of regeneration by reconciliation through the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ. I like Paul’s summary of the gospel to Titus: “…after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” Titus 3:4-7

Isaiah’s prophetic account of the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ will be shared multiple times during this season:

“He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” Is 53:3-12

In his book, “In My Place” J.I. Packer offers some personal thoughts in response to the question, ” What did the Cross achieve?”
“1. God,…condones nothing but judges all sin as it deserves.
2. My sins merit ultimate penal suffering and rejection from God’s presence and I can do nothing to blot them out.
3. The penalty due to me for my sins, whatever it was, was paid for me by Jesus Christ, the Son of God, in his death on the cross.
4. Because this is so, I through faith in him am made “the righteousness of God in him,” i.e., I am justified; pardon, acceptance, and sonship become mine.
5. Christ’s death for me is my sole grounds of hope before God.
6. My faith in Christ is God’s own gift to me, given in virtue of Christ’s death for me; i.e., the cross procured it.
7. Christ’s death for me guarantees my preservation to glory.
8. Christ’s death for me is the measure and pledge of the love of the Father and the Son to me.
9. Christ’s death for me calls and constrains me to trust, to worship, to love, and to serve.”

I am sure that reflecting on the cross, prior to celebrating (in worship) the resurrection, does much to increase our appreciation for the resurrection. Paul said in 2 Corinthians 4:6-11 “Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.”

It is a sad note that many will celebrate an event in which they have no part. Their new clothes, vibrant songs, special offerings and seasonal sermons only shroud the dead corpse of a lifeless soul.

I was reminded of very significant truth, while listening to some good preaching, this past week. You don’t meet with God without blood. I couldn’t help but add the thought, that you don’t acquire blood but by the way of the cross.

I must needs go home by the way of the cross,
There’s no other way but this;
I shall ne’er get sight of the gates of light,
If the way of the cross I miss.

I must needs go on in the blood sprinkled way,
The path that the Savior trod,
If I ever climb to the heights sublime,
Where the soul is at home with God.

Then I bid farewell to the way of the world,
To walk in it never more;
For the Lord says, “Come,” and I seek my home,
Where He waits at the open door.

Words: Jess­ie B. Pounds, in Liv­ing Praises No. 2, by Charles Gab­ri­el and W. W. Dow­ling (St. Lou­is, Mis­souri: Christ­ian Pub­lish­ing Co., 1906).

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